The idea of protecting large tracts of lands as national parks took off in Africa in 1925 with the establishment of Virunga National Park in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Soon after that – and in ever increasing numbers after the second world war –  many other African countries followed suit, leading to the creation of some of the world’s largest national parks.

Gemsbok National Park, Botswana, coming in at 12,800 km sq

Although Africa doesn’t boast the first or the largest national parks in the world (Yellowstone, USA and Northeast Greenland national parks respectively), it can lay claim to a selection of unparalleled national parks – several of which dwarf many European countries in size… and of course, unrivalled wildlife viewing opportunities. So, without further ado, here are the 50 largest national parks in Africa:

Africa’s 50 Largest National Parks (sq. km)

1. Mudumu National Park, Namibia: 85,000

2. Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania: 55,000

3. Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana: 52,000

4. Namib-Nankluft Park, Namibia: 49,768

5. Kafue National Park, Zambia: 22,400

6. Etosha National Park, Namibia: 22,270

7. Kruger National Park, South Africa: 19,455

8. Luvushi Manda National Park. Malawi: 15,000

9. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania: 14,763

10. Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe: 14,651

11. Ruaha National Park, Tanzania: 13,000

12. Gemsbok National Park, Botswana: 12,800

13. Chobe National Park, Botswana: 10,566

14. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia: 9,050

15. Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania: 8,288

16. Lake Kariba Recreational Park, Zimbabwe: 5,200

17. Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe: 5,053

18. Uwanda National Park, Tanzania: 5,000

19. North Luangwa National Park, Zambia: 4,636

20. Fish River Canyon National Park, Namibia: 4,347

21. Nxai Pan National Park, Botswana: 4,000

22. Makgadikgadi National Park, Botswana: 3,900

23. Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda: 3,885

24. Kaudum Game Park, Namibia: 3,800

25. Liuwa Plain National Park, Zambia: 3,660

26. Mkomazi National Park, Tanzania: 3,600

27. Mikumi National Park, Tanzania: 3,230

28. Mweru Wantipa National Park, Zambia: 3,134

29. Nyika National Park, Malawi: 3,134

30. Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana: 3,000

31. Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia: 3,000

32. Lukusuzi National Park, Zambia: 2,720

33. Tarangire National Park, Tanzania: 2,600

34. Khutse Game Reserve, Botswana: 2,600

35. Katavi National Park, Tanzania: 2,253

36. Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe: 2,190

37. Nsumbu National Park, Zambia: 2,020

38. Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda: 2,000

39. Kasungu National Park, Malawi: 2,000

40. Chizarira National Park, Zimbabwe: 1,910

41. Nkhorakota Game Reserve, Malawi: 1,802

42. West Lunga National Park, Zambia: 1,684

43. Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya: 1,672

44. Skeleton Cost National Park, Namibia: 1,600

45. Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania: 1,577

46. Matusadona National Park, Zimbabwe: 1,407

47. Kidepo National Park, Uganda: 1,334

48. Mt. Elgon National Park, Uganda: 1,145

49. Udzungwa Mountains National Park, Tanzania: 1,000

50. Rwenzori Mountains National Park, Uganda: 996

Source courtesy of Africa Alamanac

Interested in reading more about more about National parks in Africa? We have a section on the website dedicated to both reviews of individual national parks, and overviews of national parks in all countries across East and Southern Africa.